PINE Microsystems, producer of Raspberry Pi alternative single board computers, has announced the PineNote, an e-ink tablet powered by the same SoC as found in the Quartz64 single-board computer. The first batch of units comes with a caveat, don't expect to write your dissertation or read too many e-books, unless you have the coding skills to make it happen.
For those unfamiliar with the Quartz64, it was released in June 2021, and packs a Rockchip RK3566 Quad-Core ARM Cortex A55 64-Bit Processor with a MALI G-52 GPU. Key features include a PCIe x4 open ended slot (on the model A, which also has the e-ink interface) or M.2 (for the model B) using one Gen 2 lane electrically, and up to 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM.
The CPU in the PineNote is clocked at 1.8 GHz, and uses the full complement of eMMC, plus 4GB of RAM. Wireless connectivity is taken care of by Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5, and the 10.3in e-ink screen has a resolution of 1404x1872 pixels, for a density of 227ppi. The screen can be rotated thanks to a built in rotation sensor. The screen may only be able to display 16 levels of grayscale, but is a full multi-touch panel with a pen digitizer, and the front light has 36 levels of intensity. There are stereo speakers and four microphones built in, but no webcam. Charging the onboard 4000mAH LiPo battery is via USB-C.
At just over 7mm (0.27in) thick, it’s thinner than a Kindle Oasis 3, and should be available later this year for $399 - though there are some pretty sensible warnings on the web page about the state of its software when you first get it: “...you must expect to write software for it, not to write notes on it. The software shipping from the factory for the first batch will not be suitable for taking notes, reading e-books, or writing your dissertation. It may not even boot to a graphical environment”. So be warned.